Are There Civic Returns to Education?
43 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2003 Last revised: 1 Nov 2010
Date Written: March 2003
The hypothesized effects of educational attainment on adult civic engagement and attitudes provide some of the most important justifications for government intervention in the market for education. In this study, I present evidence on whether these externalities exist. I assess and implement two strategies for identifying the effects of educational attainment. One is based on the availability of junior and community colleges; the other, on changes in teen exposure to child labor laws. The results suggest that educational attainment has large and statistically significant effects on subsequent voter participation and support for free speech. I also find that additional schooling appears to increase the quality of civic knowledge as measured by the frequency of newspaper readership
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